By: Bryan Rathbun
Bona Senior Territory Manager Rocky Mountain Region
“When you take risks and they work out, they lead to new capabilities you never saw before.”
~ Tom Soderstrom JPL
During my 28-year career in the wood flooring industry, one of the best questions someone ever posed to me was “are you too busy to make money?” What this question made me do was to take a step back and really evaluate the blind spots in my business that stood in the way of profit. Nothing was off the table when it came to this evaluation process, and what I discovered was that one of the very best ways to increase my profit was to look at every product I was using and ask some tough questions. Was I maximizing my dollar by fully utilizing the features and benefits built into these products? Did I know exactly what the cost per square foot was for each nail, each coat of finish and each abrasive that I used on that floor? The reality was that I had never really taken the time to properly evaluate the products I was selecting. I was using them because I always had, and I was comfortable with them. It was incredibly eye-opening when I did give it a closer glance, and what I discovered was that even though some products might have been more of an investment on the front side, when it came to the overall performance of the product, the ease of application and the durability for the end user it ended up saving me money in the long run due to their quality. What I had not considered was the “value-proposition” of the product, only the price. Cheaper rarely equaled increased profitability, and I stopped being “too busy to make money” after that epiphany.
Since coming to work for Bona and in my travels and countless conversations with hardwood flooring contractors, I encounter three major objections to trying out Bona abrasives. These include:
- I have always used “x” brand.
- The price is too expensive.
- It does not matter which abrasives you use; they are all the same.
“The most dangerous phrase in our language is “we’ve always done it this way.”
~ Rear Admiral Grace Hopper
We are all susceptible to our bias’s and often as consumers we continue to patronize the companies and products that have worked well for us in the past because those products or services checked all the boxes we had a the time. But what we fail to appreciate is that just because a product was a cutting-edge, problem solver when you began using it, does not mean something better is not available now. Aside from the products and services you sell as a business owner, it is important to remember that the fundamental purpose of all business consists of only two things; to market and to innovate. Once a company stops doing one or both, the outcome may be a swift decline or a slow “death by a thousand cuts”, but the result is always the same. The business will eventually fail. The good news is that as a hardwood floor contractor, you have an entire network of manufacturers who spend millions of dollars and man hours in research, development and innovation of products that are designed to give you and your business an edge in performance, improve the ease of use or application, and an opportunity for additional profitability be it by saving you time, money or both. If a new or re-designed product comes across your path, are you open minded enough to evaluate and innovate in your own business?
Bona is one of these manufacturers. Since 1919 Bona has developed and manufactured premium products and systems designed to enhance and maintain the beauty of wood flooring. We are not a chemical company that dabbles in stain or finishes as a small fraction of the larger business. We are not an abrasive company that makes abrasives which “will work for wood floors”, the entire focus of Bona is making products and developing systems specific for wood floors and for wood floor contractors.
“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it” ~Unknown
Hardwood floors are surfaces with special properties and when Bona set out to create a line of abrasives they partnered with SIA Abrasives. SIA is one of the world’s leading abrasive manufacturers, but the only one that creates and tests abrasives that are made just for Bona and the wood flooring trade. Does the brand you are using have its own lab dedicated to designing and testing the best abrasive products for wood floors only? When you use Bona abrasives you are putting over 240 combined years of experience in wood flooring and abrasive technology behind your dedicated craftsmanship. The price difference between Bona abrasives and the competitor’s brands is closer than you think. In many instances it is even lower. When considering the life cycle and durability, the increased speed, and the smoother surface you can achieve with Bona abrasives, they are, in fact, less expensive in the end.
Features and Benefits of Bona Abrasives vs. Competition
“To create something exceptional, your mindset must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail.” ~ Giorgio Armani
You have all heard the phrase by Aristotle that “the whole is more than the sum of its parts”, but it is always important to keep perspective that it is the parts that make up the sum, and if you are using low quality parts in your process, the sum will suffer. Just because the customer never gets to see the sanding paper that was used to get their floor flat, does not mean that it will not affect the overall result. How much time did the lower quality paper cost you? Your economy of movement was interrupted every time you had to stop sanding to change a disc or belt. Your economy of time was interrupted every time you had to re-sand something because it was not flat enough, or the texture was off, and the stain hit it funny in one spot. The devil is absolutely within the details and categorizing every abrasive as the same is a sacrifice of detail that can eventually come back to haunt you.
“After awhile you realize that putting your actions where your mouth is makes you less likely to have to put your money where your mouth is.” ~Jami Criss
In conclusion, I challenge you to re-frame your objections to trying something new by remembering life will always require that we take a risk to discover a reward. No business is static. It is forever changing and evolving, and the hardwood flooring trade is no different. Take advantage of the technological advance’s manufacturers have poured their resources into to create ways for you to increase your productivity and profits.
For an on-site demonstration, complimentary samples, or special offers contact:
Senior Territory Manager
24 Inverness Place East, Suite 100
Englewood, CO 80112